Academic Diary with Dzifa: Inclusive classroom

Academic Diary with Dzifa: The psychology of learning – what is your strategy?

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  • The special learner referred to here may present a mild to moderate form of ‘challenge’
  • The specialties may be presented in various forms such as difficulty in reading, writing or even adjusting to certain motor skills (fine or gross)
  • Special needs are met with the right combination of tools, resources, passion and determination

On a number of occasions within the term, Madam Annette will visit the school’s administrative office. Her mission?  A simple complex issue of her son, Nyameayebi. He is a special child in upper primary who is doing pretty well with school but at certain times of the school term, he is for want of a better word ignored in terms of his academics, assessment and association. Her humble but urgent plea is that some kind of room be made to help integrate her son into class and school activities.

Fitting into the shoes of a mother and special learner such as Madam Annette and Nyameayebi is unimaginable. However, she and her son are not on this uncertain road alone. An appreciable number of parents and learners are suffering the same fate.

How do we, as facilitator, parents and support groups as well as stakeholders in the educational sector, assist to incorporate such ones into our classroom and general school activities. Here are some practical tips to help build that inclusive classroom.

Have an Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Facilitators must be aware of the individual needs of special learners in their class and be able to tailor a plan that will directly address the need.

How To Do It       

Have a detailed assessment of the leaner’s IEP. Pay close attention to learner’s uniqueness, goals, provisions, and accommodations. Check the goals to see if you will need to collect data. The provisions will tell you if the learner will spend any time in a special education setting or if the learner receives any additional services such as speech or physical therapy. The accommodations will describe any special things you will need to do for the student, such as preferential seating or restating directions to check for understanding.

Check Your Classroom Setup

Facilitators must check if their classroom setup makes room and is comfortable for the special leaner to fully benefit, no matter the form of class activity taking place.

How To Do It

Once you have assessed for the individual educational plan, you are now fully aware of the learners’ limitations so make or provide the needed practical solution to make them comfortable. For instance; if any learner uses a wheelchair, you may need to check the spaces in between desks and tables to make sure there is adequate space for the student to meander and have their classroom supplies at an arm’s length.

You may also want to provide a front roll seat for the learner with a low vision and have his work in print, printed in a larger font. What about the learner with a hearing challenge? Such ones can be seated close to the facilitator.

The learner with writing challenges, can also be assisted by teaching or providing letter formation activities and inculcating pre-writing skills.

Considering practical solutions like these can make a lot of changes. But you also need to remember that what may work for the goose may not necessarily work for the gander. So, you will need to find the appropriate approach for individual learners.

Arrange Your Classroom Seating to Suit the Class Needs

Assess the needs of your class and weigh how best the seating arrangement will benefit both the special and higher achieving learners.

How To Do It

Here are two ways;

You may want to mingle the two types of learners. This will encourage peer-to-peer teaching when the need arises. On the other hand, you may want to put the learners in two groups depending on their abilities. This can afford you the opportunity to deliver a lesson to the whole class and then give special attention to members of the other group and this makes reinforcing your lessons much easier because you have all the learning aids and resources for the particular group at a go.

Have a Plan for Absenteeism

If you find yourself handling an inclusive classroom, one or more of your students may regularly receive therapy from other specialists and this might be a challenge. However, you still need to fill in the instructional hours missed. How?

How To Do It

Make the effort to work with other facilitators and assistants to fit in during times that will cause fewer difficulties. So, you can find time to fill in the lesson missed. This might prove very to be very challenging when you have a learner who regularly pulls out of class. But it is worth the try.

Choose the Right Teaching and Learning Resources (TLRs)

It may seem a daunting task when you have a class full of learners and you have to plan for two separate lessons because you want to meet the needs of your learners. Nevertheless, finding the right resources is crucial to delivering an impactful lesson.

How To Do It

Find out from your school administrator what resources your school has available and select from them. You can use local materials to prepare some resources too. The internet is also full of amazing resources to assist struggling learners, you can make very good use of them as well.


An inclusive classroom provides and meets the needs of all leaners by carefully considering the provision of a comfortable setting, extra attention and the right resource.

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